While exaggerated ripeness has lately become the bane of too many wines, this highly ripened and downright opulent wine handles its alcohols with great aplomb and delivers layer upon layer of sweet and succulent ripe-cherry fruit, cocoa and lovely, crème brûlée oak. It is full, fleshy and very well-balanced with an inviting sense of plushness backed up by perfectly integrated tannins, and its scant suggestion of finishing heat is made moot by its extraordinarily long fruit. Its show-stopping richness will no doubt invite early drinking, but its structure and depth signal great things ahead. *Three Stars*
The 2004 Merlot (a blend of 87% Merlot and 13% Cabernet Sauvignon) reveals Pomerol-like aromatics of caramelized red and black fruits, toffee and spice as well as a big, creamy, opulent texture, and a full-bodied mouthfeel with no hard edges. The wine’s saturated ruby/purple color reveals no lightness at the edge. Wonderfully dense, rich, full, and incredibly sexy and long, this beauty is everything a Merlot should be. Enjoy it over the next 6-8 years. (RP)
Shows seductive aromas of rich currant, with mocha and espresso bean oak. Deep, complex, intense and concentrated. The long, full, persistent finish has firm, ripe tannins and lays the fruit and oak out in spades. (JL)
(15.8% alcohol; includes 12.5% cabernet sauvignon) Bright ruby-red. Subtly complex nose melds blueberry, cassis, tar, licorice, wild spices and minerals. Intense berry flavors are firmed by lively acidity. Not yet especially nuanced but this one boasts a lovely tight core of fruit and appears to be built to age. Finishes firmly tannic, with strong fruit. (ST)
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